Nearby Gilpin Trace

There are a few communities and attractions within easy reach of Gilpin Trace. Some of them offer further opportunities for birding, like Niplig Trail, the Visitor Centre, and Argyle Waterfalls. Parlatuvier is a quiet, picturesque village and beach further west, less than four miles, on the Caribbean Sea coastline. Roxborough, to the south-southeast, less than six miles, is a small town with a few services, e.g., transportation, fuel station, and grocery, a waypoint en route to Gilpin Trace, or gateway to Speyside.

  • Niplig Trail: The trailhead for this birding site begins 1.3km (.8mi), heading towards Parlatuvier, on the left, before the Gilpin Trace trailhead on the Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road.

    • Address: Roxborough Parlatuvier Road, Tobago.

    • GPS Decimal: 11.282352,-60.615583

    • Directions: From Gilpin Trace trailhead, head east on Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road for 1.3km (.8mi); the trail is on the right-hand side.

  • Visitor Centre (Main Ridge Reserve Bloody Bay Recreation Site): This facility, at the summit of the Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road, is .51km (.32mi) from the Gilpin Trace trailhead heading towards Parlatuvier. It boasts views of the forest beneath, the Sisters Rocks offshore, northwestern Tobago, including Bloody Bay and the Western end of L’Anse Fourmi, and, to the northwest, Grenada, on extremely clear days, raptor watching, information on the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, a picnic area, and hospitality services.

    • Address: Roxborough Parlatuvier Road, Tobago.

    • GPS Decimal: 11.281427,-60.619424

    • Directions: From Gilpin Trace trailhead, head west on Roxborough Parlatuvier Road for .51km (.32mi)

    • Hours: 8am-4pm

  • Argyle Falls (aka Argyll Falls): The falls are located on the former Roxborough Estate, which, until the 1870s, was a sugar plantation, afterward, a cocoa plantation. The site is opened from 9am—4.30pm and access is controlled at the Roxborough Estate Visitor Co-operative Booth, equipped with a café. From there a lane lined with cocoa trees leads to a car park.

    A fifteen-minute walk from the car park leads to Argyle Falls—offering opportunities for light birding. Philodendron, lianas, heliconias, cocoa, bamboo, and immortelle are visible from the trail. At 54m, in three tiers, the falls is acknowledged as the highest waterfall on the island. Enshrouded by a vitalizing-green secondary forest, its water flow is greatest during the rainy season—from June to November. The higher tiers are endued with pools in which bathing or swimming can be enjoyed—climbing effort is required to reach them.

    Argyle Falls

    • Address: Cameron Canal Road, Roxborough, Tobago.

    • GPS Decimal: 11.253553,-60.585687

    • Directions: From Gilpin Trace head towards Roxborough on the Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road for 8.94km (5.54mi) until Windward Road, turn right on Windward Road, then southwest on Windward Road for .415km, and then right onto Cameron Canal Road. From Scarborough head northwest on Windward Road towards Roxborough for 19.80km (12.27mi), after Argyle Village and Pablo's Supermarket, turn left onto Cameron Canal Road.

    • Hours: 9am-5.00pm

    • Fee: Adults TT$60, Children TT$30; Locals: Adults TT$50, Children: TT$25 (2017)

    • Contact: email:; ph: 660-4154; 660-5952; 291-2659.

  • Parlatuvier: A remote and small fishing village, population 300+, in a bay of the same name. It is bestowed with a small, 500-metre, sheltered, crescent-shaped beach with golden sand. Gentle waves lap the shore. A river spills into the bay dissecting it. A 200m-jetty projects out into deep water. Pirogues are moored just offshore, and villager's houses are perched on green hills enclosing the bay. On the main road there is a restaurant, and a bar overlooks the village from the same road a little further west.

    Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, walking, and picnicking, are the best options. But a 5-minutes-walk up the river leads to a small waterfall with Jacuzzi sized pools.

    • Address: Northside Road, St. John Parish, Tobago

    • GPS Decimal: 11.299384,-60.648866

    • Directions: West on the Roxborough-Parlatuvier Rd to Northside Road 3.58km (2.2mi), west on Northside Road to Parlatuvier 2.67km (1.65mi); total: 6.25Km (3.875mi).

  • Roxborough: Michael Anthony describes this town, situated in the Parish of St. Paul, as the gateway to Tobago's nature reserves[1]. Windward Road passes through it en route to Speyside—10.69km (6.63mi) away and the launching point for Little Tobago, a bird sanctuary, and a trail head for Pigeon Peak. The Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road that winds through the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve originates there, forming a junction with Windward Road; Argyle Waterfalls and Tobago Cocoa Plantation are accessible from there, before reaching the town's main drag.

    An unremarkable town that was once part of the Roxborough Estate[1] it has a few small shops, petrol station, guest house, restaurant, residential streets, a current-day police station and a relic—the same that featured in the Belmanna Riots[1]—post office, fire station, and medical centre that houses the Roxborough Hyperbaric Facility (a recompression facility operated jointly by the Association of Tobago Dive Operators (ATDO), the Tobago House of Assembly and the Tourism Development Company (TDC)). Its heyday was in the mid-19th century to mid-20th century when cocoa was king and sugar had decline; remnants of an old sugar mill and cocoa trees of the plantations still stand.

    The town's standout-historical event is the Belmanna Riots of 1876 that helped to precipitate the unification of Tobago and Trinidad 1889[2]The account is that fires were set at the Roxborough Estate as a result of labourer unrest. Corporal Belmanna with policemen under his charge tried to arrest the perpetrators. This attempt was repulsed by a crowd, which resulted in Belmanna firing into the crowd killing a woman. This triggered further convulsions in which Belmanna was killed and other policemen injured. The disquiet caught on in other estates in the Windward District and was only quelled after the arrival of a British warship within a few days.

    "...And soon appeared the constitutional repercussion of the riots. The Government authorities, who had been forced to yield control to the rioters, and who had considered themselves saved from a massacre by the warship, now decided it was a great risk to maintain the Independent status of Tobago. For it must be noted that Tobago at the time was self-governing, and had an Elective Legislative Council. Two years before it had abolished its House of Assembly (a subnational governing body). It felt now that it could not keep law and order, it was best to hand this responsibility to the British Government..."[1]
    • GPS Decimal: 11.248965,-60.578817

    • Directions: From Gilpin Trace: east on Roxborough-Parlatuvier Rd. 8.94km (5.54mi). From Scarborough head northwest on Windward Road towards Roxborough for 20.58km (12.76mi).

    • Police Station: ph: 660-4333; 660-4901

    • Health Centre: ph: 660-6887

  • Tobago Cocoa Plantation (Tobago Cocoa Estate W.I. LTD): A vertically integrated cocoa estate, producing its own chocolate bar, from the Trinitario cocoa plant variety, for export to Europe. Its processes involve field works, e.g., brush clearing, nursery operations, planting, pruning, pest control, and harvesting, and higher value processing, e.g., bagging and weighing, warehousing, drying, fermentation, segregation, and chocolate bar production—the company's first chocolate bar was produced in 2009.

    Situated on rolling hills amongst verdant rainforest the site has been adapted to receive visitors, sporting a souvenir shop/cafe. Visitors, in groups of ten, tour the cocoa fields, observe the production process, learn about general cocoa and chocolate production, and sample the product. Light bird watching is possible during the tour of the cocoa fields that are interspersed with coffee and other fruit trees.

    Tobago Cocoa Estate W.I. LTD has a short history being established in 2005 by Tobagonian born Duane Dove.

    Tobago Cocoa Estate

    • Address: Cameron Canal Road, Roxborough, Tobago

    • GPS Decimal:11.250791,-60.590556

    • Directions: From Gilpin Trace head towards Roxborough on the Roxborough-Parlatuvier Road for 8.94km (5.54mi) until Windward Road, turn right on Windward Road, then southwest on Windward Road for .415km, and then right onto Cameron Canal Road. From Scarborough head northwest on Windward Road towards Roxborough for 19.80km (12.27mi), after Argyle Village and Pablo's Supermarket, turn left onto Cameron Canal Road.

    • Schedule: Winter Months: December to April on Fridays; or by appointment from May to November.

    • Hours: 11am

    • Contact: email:; ph: 788-3971; 390-2021

Works Cited

1ANTHONY, Michael. Towns and Villages of Triniad and Tobago. Port of Spain: Circle Press, 1988.
2WILLIAMS, Eric. History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1964. 64-13390.

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